Johnny Seven was the quintessential character actor of the television era, with over 600 small-screen appearance to his credit -- on top of several dozen film roles -- in a career lasting over 50 years. He was born John Anthony Fetto II in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, in 1926. The only son among six children in a working-class family, he didn't aspire to a performing career until after he'd served in the U.S. Army. He was assigned to a combat unit, the 187th Gun Battalion, but happened to appear in some shows while in uniform, and in one army instructional film dating from 1950, and he decided to try acting after returning to civilian life. Based in New York, he did a lot of Off-Broadway theater in the early '50s, and made his movie debut as a longshoreman in Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront (1954). Seven did a lot of live television and also appeared in several episodes of Sgt. Bilko, but he mostly played tough guys in hard-edged crime dramas, such as Cop Hater (1958), starring a young Robert Loggia and featuring a very young Jerry Orbach in a small role; and The Last Mile (1959), with Mickey Rooney.
Seven was put under contract with Universal's television division in 1958, and for the next two decades became something of a fixture on their various action shows, right up to and including The Rockford Files in the 1970s. In the early '60s, he turned up in small roles in a few major motion pictures, such as playing Shirley MacLaine's brother in Billy Wilder's The Apartment. But most of his work was in television, on everything from Get Smart to Marcus Welby, M.D. Ironside gave Seven one of his rare chances for a recurring role, as Lt. Carl Reese in over two dozen episodes across the series' run. He also wrote plays, starting with Salvage in 1958, and screenplays, and turned to directing as well as producing in 1964 with the Western Navajo Run, in which he also starred. His other writing and producing credits included the dramatic short Gina & Me (1980). Seven's last screen credit dated from the mid-'90s, and he died of lung cancer in early 2010.